On July 10, the Albuquerque Journal published two remarkable guest columns in its Sunday Journal which is the largest circulation day of the week for the paper. One guest column was from progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller and was essentially a regurgitation of his June 25 State of the City Address. The second was from Keller’s conservative Republican nemesis City Councilor Dan Lewis.
Least anyone forget, it was in 2017 that the dynamic duo of failure ran against each other in a runoff for Mayor. Then State Auditor Tim Keller, a mere one year into his 4-year term as State Auditor announced he was running for Mayor. Then Republican District 5 City Councilor Dan Lewis gave up his seat after serving 2 terms on the city council to run for Mayor. Keller won the 2017 runoff by a decisive landslide by securing 60,219 votes or 62.20% against Dan Lewis who secured 36,594 or 37.8% of the vote.
Below are both the guest columns with links followed by Commentary and Analysis:
HEADLINE: ABQ is holding the line in challenging times
BY TIM KELLER / MAYOR OF ALBUQUERQUE
PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, JULY 10TH, 2022 AT 12:02AM
“A thousand attendees gathered recently for the first in-person State of the City event in two years at the renovated Rail Yards, our “industrial cathedral,” which re-opened the Boiler Room doors to the public for the first time in 44 years. The site provided a powerful setting for this important community discussion and is a place we hope will soon be home to a new film training school in partnership with Central New Mexico Community College and the state.
Throughout the year, we saw Albuquerque’s classic vibrancy back at festivals, sports games and, of course, the State of the City. But decades-old challenges are back with a vengeance, too. Crime, homelessness, addiction – exacerbated by the pandemic and without simple solutions. As mayor during this time, my job has sometimes felt like fending off a constant stream of crises. Make no mistake, we’ve been through some dark days. Yet, through all this, we see a city holding the line during one of the most difficult periods in our history. A city that has not, and will not, stop advancing toward a horizon that brings out the best in Burque.
In the midst of adversity, we see the hard work of so many to tame these challenges with trademark spirit and determination. When wildfires swept the north, our team took care of over 1,000 evacuees with shelter, food and supplies. We boosted APD’s investigative capacity to take bold action to stem the tide of addiction and homelessness. And our team has landed major new employers in growing industries, seen fantastic job growth, completed such transformative projects as the two new community centers and a new library on Central, and built new educational partnerships to prepare our youth for careers right here. Today, our city is emerging from the depths of the pandemic clear about the challenges we face, but also knowing what’s on the horizon beyond them.
I encourage you to watch the address at cabq.gov/sotc to hear from city leaders about our work on economic development, public safety, homelessness, sustainability and more. Here, I want to focus on what are certainly the greatest challenges ahead: crime and homelessness.
At the Albuquerque Police Department, we made choices that kept our city from falling into the abyss. First, we convened leaders at every level of the criminal justice system and asked them to join us in acknowledging and taking responsibility for a broken system that all too often lets perpetrators of violent crime return to the streets, lets our judiciary go woefully underpaid and understaffed, hinders the arrest of felons with assault weapons. Then, we made historic investments in modern crime-fighting technology that are producing results. This year, APD has charged a record 65 homicide suspects, taken 295 firearms off the streets and made more than 1,800 felony arrests, using new technology to close hundreds of cases.
Third, we took control of a Department of Justice reform process that was backsliding. For years, our city was stuck, officers buried under bureaucracy and weighed down by low morale. Now, we are committed to reform at a much faster pace and are nearing completion in every category of the monitoring process. In June, my administration moved to suspend monitoring in a quarter of DOJ’s categories, allowing more officers to get out from under administrative work and back into the field. This the greatest progress our city has seen in the court-ordered settlement since it began in 2014.
Today, cities around America are looking to us for leadership because of our work to blend 911 response and social workers with coordinated outreach. Our new Community Safety Department is now taking hundreds of calls answered by these new first responders, freeing up our officers to fight crime and our EMTs to focus on emergencies.
We also see the proliferation of tents, such as the situation at Coronado Park, and a 30% rise in homelessness all over the country. Like so many, I wish there was a simple answer here. The only real answer is to take an “all-of-the-above approach.” We have to be agile, learn and keep creating pathways to stability. That is why we are revisiting our approach to encampments. We will continue our historic investments to build housing and expand rental assistance programs that have gotten thousands of people into homes. And, as city crews continue to clear dozens of encampments a month, they will prioritize and promptly clear encampments from our sidewalks and near spaces with children’s programming. APD will continue to enforce the law, citing trespassers, and arresting traffickers and felons, but they will not violate constitutional rights.
Our authority on this issue is also limited. Our partners on the City Council have supported critical investments to address homelessness, but we need more than funds; we need new tools. We need zoning approval to open the Gateway Shelter, a cornerstone of the work ahead to move people off the street, and for every solution in between. We can make a difference together; we need action now.
In the year ahead, we will again ask our community to look at new solutions with open minds and a willingness to jump into the work. That’s how we take each step forward and how we will reach Albuquerque’s brighter horizon.”
HEADLINE: Lawlessness proves the Burque’s not back
BY DAN LEWIS / ALBUQUERQUE CITY COUNCILOR, DISTRICT 5
PUBLISHED: SUNDAY, JULY 10TH, 2022 AT 12:02AM
“Mayor Tim Keller used his State of the City address June 25 to celebrate, saying “The Burque is back.” The mayor doesn’t seem to know what city he is living in. Albuquerque is “murder city,” and lawlessness is back.
Albuquerque is hurting more than ever. The city streets are filled with illegal homeless tent encampments, drug abuse, trash, graffiti and rampant crime. Needles and graffiti fill public parks. The city is dirtier than ever and riddled with more crime than ever. There are fewer officers on the streets responding to calls than one year ago and even five years ago.
The mayor’s State of the City address ignored the crisis we are in and was filled with excuses and blame for his failure to enforce our laws and keep our city safe and clean.
The City Council has funded his administration with over $60 million per year for homeless services, including funding for 369 vacant beds in compassionate shelters every night. The council increased housing vouchers by 70% this year. The council continues to fund 1,100 police officers, yet this administration after five years only has 850 officers, with just 360 responding to calls. The council continues to fund and offer solutions for the challenges we face, but this administration fails to lead.
The mayor continues to make excuses and blame the federal courts, the City Council, the pandemic, state government and previous administrations rather than stepping up and owning Albuquerque’s problems.
To keep Downtown safe, the mayor proposed that small businesses foot the bill for more officers. To clean up after illegal tent encampments, the mayor increased trash rates for every resident. The mayor was given a record amount of new revenue this year and continues to increase the burden on the taxpayers of Albuquerque with no results.
This mayor does not prioritize keeping our city safe or enforcing our laws, and the people of our great city are paying greatly for it.
The “Burque” will not be back until its leaders listen to the people of our city and have the courage to lead.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
After hearing Mayor Keller’s State of the City Address and the Lewis rebuttal, one conclusion that can be arrived at is that both Keller and Lewis suffer from the political amnesia virus. Both have been failures in making any real progress in solving the city’s problems, especially when it comes to violent crime and the homeless crisis. Interestingly, both agree that the city’s two biggest problems are high violent and murder rates and the homeless crisis. These are the identical issues that existed 2017 when they ran against each other in 2017. For that reason, a review of both the Keller and Lewis records is in order.
MAYOR TIM KELLER’S RECORD OF FAILURE
In August 2017, then New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller, candidate for Albuquerque Mayor, had this to say about the city’s high crime rates:
“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”
Tim Keller ran on the platform promising to reduce the city’s crime rates, increase the number of sworn police, return to community-based policing and solving or dealing with the city’s homeless crisis, all promises he has failed to keep. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017.
KELLER’S FIRST TERM
Keller’s accomplishments during his first full term as Mayor were less than stellar. After being elected the first time, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department that he promised. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and the four programs to bring down violent crime have had a negligible effect and can be considered failures.
During each year of Keller’s first year term, the city’s murder rate rose and continued to rise. In 2018, the first full year of Mayor Keller’s term there were 69 homicides. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides and the year 2021 ended with the all-time record of 117 murders. 2022 is on pace to match or surpass the record once again with 67 homicides. As of June 10, there have been 67 homicides. By June 10, 2021 there were 65 homicides.
In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates. Those APD programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime a “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, it appears Keller’s programs have been a failure.
Dealing with the homeless crisis was a major cornerstone of Mayor Keller’s first term, so much so that he increased funding for homeless programs by millions and advocated for a homeless shelter. On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Mayor Keller held a press conference in front of the Gibson Lovelace Medical Center to officially announce the city had bought the massive 572,000-square-foot complex for $15 million to transform it into a Gateway Center for the homeless shelter. After a year and a half, Keller’s Gateway Homeless Shelter is still being held up in appeals with the Keller administration failing to secure proper zoning for the shelter. Keller himself said his proposed Gateway Shelter is tied up in the “purgatory” of endless appeals not acknowledging he contributed to the mess by rushing to purchase the property without little or no input from the surrounding neighborhoods to get their buy in and approval.
KELLER’S SECOND TERM
Keller’s second term thus far seems to more of the same with the same problems he promised to solve 4 years ago still existing today, but only worse. During his June 25 State of the City address, Keller argued, as he did during his successful campaign for a second term, that crime and homelessness were exacerbated by the pandemic and that there are no simple solutions. He took credit for keeping things stable during the pandemic crisis. He did not acknowledge that his law enforcement initiatives have proven to be ineffective in making the city any safer than it was 4 and a half years ago. Keller won by another landslide not because he had done such an exceptional job but because his two opponents Sherrif Manny Gonzales and talk show host Eddy Aragon were seriously flawed candidates and Donald Trump supporters. The 2021 race for Mayor boiled downed to the “lesser of 3 evils” and Keller won.
METRO CRIME INITIATIVE
When Keller says in his state of the city address “we convened leaders at every level of the criminal justice system and asked them to join us in acknowledging and taking responsibility for a broken system that all too often lets perpetrators of violent crime return to the streets”, what Keller was referring to was his “Metro Crime Initiative”.
On Thursday, September 23, Mayor Tim Keller and his Administration concluded a series of meetings with law enforcement and community partners to address what all participants called the “broken criminal justice” system. The conference was dubbed the “Metro Crime Initiative.”
The entire “Metro Crime Initiative” started with the phony proposition declared by Mayor Keller and all the participants that our criminal justice system is broken. It ended with a press conference with all the participants patting each other on the back for doing such a good job and asserting they have found the solutions. Their solution was to do their jobs in the first place. It’s a lot simpler to come up with a bumper sticker slogan and say the criminal justice system is broken when you do not know how to explain your inability to do your own job and are contributing to the crisis.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REFORMS
It was damn laughable that Keller said:
“We took control of a Department of Justice reform process that was backsliding. For years, our city was stuck, officers buried under bureaucracy and weighed down by low morale. Now, we are committed to reform at a much faster pace and are nearing completion in every category of the monitoring process.”
When Keller assumed office 4 years ago for the first time, he proclaimed to a federal judge in open court that he and his Administration were fully committed to the reform process. He promised full implementation of the DOJ reforms saying he knew full well he would be judged by the public and would be held accountable come election time.
Implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much over 3 years under Keller’s watch that he fired his first APD Chief Michael Geier blaming Geier for the failure and immediately turned around and appointed Harold Medina as APD Chief who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes. One was a 14-year-old child banishing a BB gun Medina he killed in a church. The second was a 26-year-old veteran Ken Ellis, Jr., who was suffering from post-traumatic syndrome who Medina gave the authorization to use deadly force. The Ken Ellis wrongful death case resulted in a $10 million judgement against the city where a Judge and jury found that Ellis was a threat more to himself and not a threat to APD officers. Medina had the gall to proclaim that the shootings made him uniquely qualified to be APD Chief and that because of the shootings, he understood the need for constitutional policing practices and de-escalation training.
The city has at least 4 more years before the DOJ case before it can be dismissed. Two more years are projected to be needed to implement the reforms to come into compliance followed by another 2 years where the mandated compliance levels must be sustained. APD has an extensive history of increasing compliance levels only to backslide to worse levels than before and it will more likely than not happen again.
THE HOMELESS CRISIS
During his June 25, “State of The City” address Keller addressed the city’s homeless crisis. Keller noted that homelessness is “on display in so many areas in our city”. Keller had this to say:
“We have to open new ways, new pathways, to longstanding problems and try new approaches. We’ve got to be agile, we’ve got to learn, and we’ve got to keep creating pathways to stability. That is why we are revisiting our approach to homelessness and encampments.”
Keller’s announcement that the city is revisiting it approach to homeless encampments was made a month after a 4th murder in the last two years occurred at Coronado Park. It turns out that Keller approved that Coronado Park be used as a homeless encampment.
Over the last 10 years, Coronado Park has essentially become the “de facto” city sanctioned homeless encampment with the city repeatedly cleaning it up at a cost of $52,000 a month only for the homeless to return the next day. At any given time, Coronado Park has 70 to 80 tents crammed into the park with homeless wondering the area. The city park has an extensive history lawlessness including drug use, violence, murder, rape and mental health issues, yet Keller has refused to order its closing.
Keller has allowed a once beautiful and pristine park dedicated to public use to become a festering blight on the community. Simply put, it has become an embarrassment with the city violating its own city ordinances and nuisance laws by allowing overnight camping and criminal conduct in the park thus creating a public nuisance both under state law and city ordinances. Coronado Park has become the symbol of Keller’s failure in office to deal with the homeless despite all of his efforts.
Keller said in his state of the city address that the city needs to deal with the homeless crisis with an “all-of-the-above approach” that includes rental-assistance vouchers, affordable housing development, hotel-to-apartment conversions, and the Gateway Center Homeless Shelter. The problem is Keller has been dealing with the homeless crisis for the last 4 years with an “all-of-the-above approach” and its simply not working.
The Keller administration has spent $40 million in 2022 and will spend another $60 million in 2023 to provide assistance to the homeless. Whatever changes in policy Keller comes up with now to deal with the homeless encampments will likely fall short given his propensity to be only concerned about the superficial, public relations and the sound bites.
THE DAN LEWIS RECORD OF FAILURE
Any rebuttal of the Mayor’s State of the City address should have come from the City Council President or Vice President to be meaningful. Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis holds no leadership position on the City Council, yet he self-appointed to take issue with Keller’s State of the City Address. Dan Lewis motivation is to carry out a personal political grudge against Keller.
Dan Lewis ran unsuccessfully for Mayor against Tim Keller in 2017 when Keller won the 2017 runoff by a decisive landslide with 62.20% to Lewis 37.8%. District 9 Conservative Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis previously served two terms on the City Council from 2009 to 2017. On November 2, 2021 Lewis defeated incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego who had replaced him 4 years ago.
The Lewis rebuttal of Keller’s State of the City address falls in line with his personal vendetta against Keller. Soon after being elected to the city council, Dan Lewis made it known he intended to be elected City Council President. He failed. Privately Lewis has made it known to many of his supporters that he intends to run for Mayor again in 2025 especially against Tim Keller if Keller seeks a third term. From the very get go of his return to the city council, Lewis has made it is clear he intends to be as disruptive as possible on the city council in order to generate the news coverage he so covets to run for Mayor again in 2025.
On January 10, 2022, the newly elected Albuquerque City Council met for the first time. After losing the vote to become City Council President to City Councilor Isaac Benton, Dan Lewis immediately introduced 4 separate resolutions outlining what he intended to pursue in the coming few months to hold Mayor Tim Keller and his administration accountable for past actions. Those resolutions were:
1. Repeal the 3/8 of 1% gross receipts tax enacted IN 2014. The city council enacted a 3/8 of 1% gross receipts tax four years ago on an 8-1 bipartisan city council vote. Keller singned off on it breaking his pledge not to raise taxes, even for public safety, without a public vote. Lewis proclaimed the tax a financial crutch the city did not need and reversal would put money “back into the pockets of hard-working Albuquerque citizens.” During the April 4 city council meeting the Lewis resolution calling for the repeal of the gross receipts tax hit a “brick wall” when the legislation failed on a 1 to 8 vote. Lewis was the only city councilor to vote for his legislation.
2. Bar the city from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for the municipal government workforce. It was on March 21 that the Albuquerque the City Council passed the Dan Lewis City Council resolution that prohibited imposing an employee vaccine mandate and from penalizing those who do not. It is well settled law that employers can mandate vaccines as a condition of employment. The vote was 5 to 4 vote with Republican Councilors Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and Democrat Louie Sanchez voting to support it. All the 4 remaining Democrats Isaac Benton, Klarissa Peña, Pat Davis and Tammy Fiebelkorn voted no. On April 2, it was reported that Mayor Tim Keller vetoed the anti-vaccine measure. In his veto message to the City Council, Mayor Keller wrote that city leaders have more pressing concerns than “manufactured ideological disputes” and noted that he has never imposed a COVID-19 vaccine requirement and Keller said “In this context a ban on vaccine mandates is an answer in search of a question.” The city council failed to override the veto not having the necessary 6 votes to override Keller’s veto
3. Repeal or limit mayoral authority during a public health emergency. The resolution revoked most of the mayoral public health emergency authority the City Council added at the onset of the pandemic. The resolution past the city council on a 5 to 4 vote, Mayor Keller vetoed it and the council failed to override the veto.
4. Direct the city administration to consider and “to the extent advisable,” push to renegotiate the terms of the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The settlement mandates 271 reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The settlement was entered into on November 14, 2014 after a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force and had a “culture of aggression.” The City Council Resolution can only be considered “for show” by Lewis in that it will have no affect on the settlement. The settlement is a Federal Court Order that the City Council has no authority over. The DOJ settlement was negotiated in 2013 during the time Lewis was a city councilor, yet he never once objected to any one of the 271 terms. Not once ever did Lewis ever call to task APD’s and Mayor Berry’s failure to implement of the reforms nor did he ever criticize the APD leadership when the Federal Monitor repeatedly issued highly critical reports of APD’s failures at compliance efforts. Simply put, Lewis failed to hold APD accountable for failure to implement the DOJ reforms.
LEWIS BOGUS OPPOSTION TO 2022-2023 BUDGET
On May 16, the Albuquerque City Council voted 7 to 2 to approve the 2022-2023 city budget. The overall budget approved by the Albuquerque City council is for $1.4 Billion and with $857 million in general fund Appropriations. The budget approved by the council was increased by 20% over the current year’s budget which ends June 10, 2022.
After the May 16 City Council meeting approving the $1.4 billion dollar budget, City Councilor Dan Lewis said in an interview that he could not support appropriating $100 million in additional revenues and said that was the reason for voting NO. Lewis had this to say:
“I just disagree with the entire budget. … I think it could have been done a lot better.”
Dan Lewis failed to provide specific examples of departments or programs he felt should not be funded or that were given too much money in the approved budget. Lewis mouthing off and saying “I just disagree with the entire budget. … I think it could have been done a lot better” amounts to nothing more than meritless, self-righteous indignation and laziness on his part.
Lewis has served as the City Council Budget Chair in the past and knows full well that he could have just as easily instructed the council to draft a proposed “substitute budget” to his liking, or sponsored amendments to the proposed budget, but that would have required effort and some work on his part. If Dan Lewis had a problem with the 2022-2023 city budget, he should have offered amendments to voice his concerns and make cuts or require further approval from the City Council, but no, he just wanted to complain for the sake of complaining for the publicity.
Lewis voting NO on the budget amounted to nothing more than his continuing obstructionists’ tactics he is known for since assuming office on January 1 and retuning to the city council to carry out his personal grudge against Tim Keller.
LEWIS OPPOSTION TO WOMAN’S RIGH TO CHOOSE
Initially, the city council had voted 8 to 1 to approve the 2022-2023 $857 million General Fund budget that was part of the entire $1.4 billion budget. When the initial vote to approve the budget was taken, the City Council adjourned for a short recess for its customary “dinner break”.
Upon reconvening after the dinner break, City Councilor Dan Lewis announced that although he did not want to change his “NO” vote on the entire budget, but that he wanted to change his vote to correct his vote allocating $250,000 to a Planned Parenthood of New Mexico sponsorship. Dan Lewis offered an explanation for his seeking to reconsider the vote on the Planned Parenthood of New Mexico sponsorship and said this:
“I was honestly looking at another amendment when we voted on this and just want to change my vote on the record.”
The budget amendment passed again on a 6 to 3 vote with Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones, who had initially voted against it, supporting its passage when it was voted upon again. The budget also passed again on a 7 to 2 vote, with Republican Renee Grout joining Lewis in opposing the passage of the budget.
Fiebelkorn celebrated the approval of the funding of Planned Parenthood and had this to say in a written statement:
“These funds support our local Planned Parenthood clinic to ensure that all Albuquerque women have access to family planning, abortion, and other reproductive health services. ”
The link to the quoted news source is here:
The only appropriation Lewis singled out and objected to was $250,000 City Council sponsorship of Planned Parenthood, no doubt because he is a “prolife” Christian fundamentalist preacher who is opposed to Plan Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose.
Now that the United States Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, no one should be surprised if Dan Lewis introduces a city council resolution that would prohibit abortions from being conducted within the city limits. Such a resolution could call for prohibiting the issuance of “licenses to do business” to any health care provider that provide abortions. Failure to have a business license would allow government action to shut them down.
LEWIS USES CONFIRMATION HEARINGS TO INTIMDATE AND SHAME
City Councilors Republican Dan Lewis was sworn in on January 1st. Within weeks after being sworn in, Lewis began to demand that Mayor Tim Keller again nominate his top executive staff, who has been confirmed by the prior city counsel, so they could hold confirmation hearings and be allowed to vote to reject them for the positions they held. City Councilor Dan Lewis had this to say about his demand that all the names be submitted a second time:
“I’m going to always defend the authority of the council, and any authority that has been given to it by the charter and the people of the city.”
It was painfully obvious that the only reason Dan Lewis demanded Keller’s top executives previously confirmed be re submitted for a second time for confirmation was to try and shame and intimate them and to vote against them.
On March 7, City Clerk Ethan Watson was confirmed on a 7-2 bipartisan vote of the city council but not before Lewis crossed examined Watson over his job performance during the 2021 municipal election. Dan Lewis questioned Watson’s impartiality in administering the city’s taxpayer-funded public campaign finance system, ignoring the fact that Watson is license attorney and as such an officer of the court who has taken an oath of office himself.
Lewis focused on Watson’s move to reject mayoral candidate Sherriff Manny Gonzales’ application for the money on the grounds he’d submitted fraudulent documentation, questioning if he’d applied the same scrutiny to Keller’s campaign. Lewis ignored that a state judge ultimately upheld Watson’s decision. Lewis at one point became very condensing and mean spirited when he asked Watson “how we can trust you moving forward in future elections?”. This coming from Dan Lewis who engaged in smear tactics and lies against his opponent incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego to get elected saying she was in favor of “sanctuary city polices” and the releasing of violent criminals. Dan Lewis paid Republican Political Operative Jay McClusky to run his campaign.
Dan Lewis was elected to the city council for a second term in 2013, the same year that Republican Mayor Richard Berry was elected to a second term. Republican Mayor Berry did not submit relevant reappointments for confirmation a second time, despite a request from then-council President Ken Sanchez to do so. Not at all surprising Dan Lewis then did not “defend the authority of the council” and said nothing at the time no doubt because it was a Republican Mayor that he needed to curry favor with but now he says something because he is dealing with a Mayor that beat him in a runoff in 2017.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
LEWIS HAS HISTORY OF HYPOCRACY
In December 2021, City Councilor Elect Dan Lewis complained that 4 outgoing City Councilors with less than a month remaining in office would be voting on a $140 Million Bond Package, with 2 outgoing City Councilors as co-sponsors. Lewis argued the resolution should had been placed on hold arguing that the current council should not vote on it and allow the new council that is sworn in on January 1, 2022 to vote.
The $110 million dollar bond resolution was scheduled for a final vote on December 6 which was the very last meeting of the year for the city council and the day before the city council December 7 runoff. The legislation was among the final legislative actions for 4 of 9 city councilors leaving office. Councilor elect Dan Lewis strongly objected to the bond resolution and said this:
“Four city councilors who would make a decision on this won’t even be here in January. … For that reason alone, we need to deal with this with a new council in January.”
Ultimately, the outgoing city council rejected the bond proposal.
Dan Lewis did more than few things even worse as he left the City Council in 2017 and during his previous 8 years as a city councilor. In particular, Lewis voted for legislation that now effects the community and historical neighborhoods for generations to come and supporting gentrification. The legislation benefits the real estate and development industries who gave so heavily to his 2021 bid for city council though measured finance committees. Simply put, Lewis has always been in the pockets of the real estate community and developers.
LEWIS VOTES TO DESTROY CITY’S HISTORICAL NEIGHBORHOODS
On November 13, 2017 then outgoing City Councilor and candidate for Mayor Dan Lewis, along with other City Councilors leaving office on December 1, 2017, voted to approve the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) which incorporated and adopted the “ABC-Z Project”. The next day, November 14, Lewis lost in a landslide to Tim Keller. Lewis no doubt knew how badly he was going to lose given the polling released at the time, yet he did not advocate that the city council place on hold the IDO for the 20218 new council to take it up as he did with the $140 bond package in 2021.
At the time, there were 60 sector development plans which governed new developments in specific neighborhoods. Forty (40) of the development plans had their own “distinct zoning guidelines” that were designed to protect many historical areas of the city. Examples of areas of the city governed by long standing sector development plans include Barelas, San Jose, Hunning Highland, Silver Hills, Nob Hill and Old Town. Under the “ABC-Z Project” the number of sector development zones went from 250 to fewer than 20, which by any terms is dramatic and no doubt excited the real estate development community.
The “ABC-Z Project” project was promoted as a way to simplify zoning and subdivision regulations “in order to improve economic development, protect established neighborhoods and special places, streamline the development review/approval process and promote more sustainable development.” What it actually did do was “gut” in full historical overlay zones and sector development plans enacted to protect neighborhoods and their character. Many of the affected historical neighborhoods condemned the ABC-Z comprehensive plan as being racist, something totally ignored by the entire city council, Democrats and Republicans alike on the city council, to the delight of Mayor Richard Berry.
The ABC-Z project rewrite spear headed by the Berry Administration was nothing more than making “gentrification” official city policy and “gutted” long standing sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character. Many of the affected historical neighborhood condemned the ABC-Z comprehensive plan as being racist, something Republican Dan Lewis simply did not care about and ignored.
RESPONDING TO A BLOG ARTICLE
In response to a blog article written on December 6, 2021 about Dan Lewis and his past record as a city councilor, Dan Lewis wrote Pete Dinelli a series of emails and said this:
“Pete, write about me all you want. I don’t care. From what I hear nobody reads this crap anyway. … you make no sense at all. Are you still defending this failed mayor? I’m not trying to get the support of anyone …. I have nothing to prove. But you better believe that this mayor will be accountable now. … I’ve read many of your articles and honestly you don’t make any sense at all. I was the biggest critic of Berry and you know it. I get it, he kicked your ass and you’re still not over it. I see a lot of poison and insanity coming from you. Always glad to talk and I’m always available. Feel free to call any time. But honestly, I’m not sure if you really want to hear any of the truth. I’m blocking these emails. Nothing here that’s anywhere close to productive.”
Lewis seems to have forgotten the Keller kicked his ass in 2017. In private, Dan Lewis is known to be highly confrontational with anyone who disagrees with his right-wing ideology, especially when his record is exposed. In short, he is thin skinned and confrontational, and he gets very personal.
In the event that progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller and Conservative Republican Dan Lewis do in fact face off against each other in 2025, the city will once again be faced with voting for the “lesser of two evils” as it was in 2021.